Tuesday, December 2, 2008

And on the Surface Die-Lou Allin

And on the Surface Die
Lou Allin
Rendezvous Crime, Oct 2008, $15.95
ISBN: 9781894917742

Thirty two years old Royal Canadian Mounted Police Corporal Holly Martin is excited with her first leadership position even if the caseload is minor crimes. She has been placed in charge of the RCMP Fossil Bay Detachment unit west of Victoria on the southern wilderness coast of Vancouver Island when Reg Wilkinson opted for early retirement. Having come from the area, Holly knows she will predominately be dealing with vehicular offenses and the occasional robbery of a tourist. Still she plans to do her best as this is the first step towards becoming a sergeant and ultimately a staff sergeant.

However, her first day on the job finds her taken aback when scuba diver Bob Johnson finds the drowned body of a teenage girl in the surf at Botanical Beach. The victim turns out to be the high school swimming team star Angie Didrickson, who was on an overnight field trip with her classmates when she apparently accidentally drowned. Holly and her subordinates (Sikh-Canadian Constable Knox Singh and somewhat limited due to health issues Constable Ann Troy) question those on the field trip but no witnesses saw Angie leave the campsite for the beach. An inspector from Victoria does a quick inquiry and calls it accidental drowning to close the case, but Holly has doubts further fueled by the toxicology report stating the victim used crystal meth, but the police corporal wonders whether a superstar athlete would ruin her body that way.

With Belle Palmer, Northern Ontario amateur sleuth extraordinaire taking a breather (see NORTHERN WINTERS ARE MURDER and BLACKFLIES ARE MURDER), Lou Allin turns to a professional in Western Canada with the same level of excellent quality. This is an exciting RCMP police investigative thriller starring a dedicated cop who must overcome the doubts of her crew that she is ready to replace the much more experienced Wilkinson. Readers will relish Holly’s first few days on the job in scenic Fossil Bay, British Columbia.

Harriet Klausner